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EVENTS

With so many cultures and religions in Malaysia, there is quite an amazing number of occasions to celebrate. Although some of them have a fixed date each year, the Hindus, Muslims and Chinese all follow a lunar calendar, so the dates for many events vary year to year. Tourism Malaysia puts out biannual Calendar of Events sheets with specific dates and venues of various festivals and parades, but state tourist offices have more detailed listings.

The capital is a good venue for Malaysia's major holidays and festivals like Thaipusam (when devotees of Lord Subramaniam prove their faith by piercing their body parts with metal spikes and hooks), Chinese New Year and Deepavali (Festival of Lights, when tiny oil lamps are lit outside the homes of Hindu people to entice Lakshmi, goddess of wealth, inside).

City Day is 1 February, when KL commemorates becoming a federal territory. Celebrations take place at Tasik Perdana and Lake Titiwangsa gardens in the north of the city.

In July, KL goes flower-crazy during the Flora Fest, with exhibitions and the international Floral Parade.

At midnight on 30 August, revellers crowd Merdeka Square (like Times Square on New Year's Eve) to celebrate National Day, the anniversary of Malaysia's independence in 1957. There are parades and festivities the next morning, usually at Commonwealth Stadium, but ask a tourist information office to be sure.

For two weeks in September KL celebrates Malaysia Fest (also called the Colours of Malaysia) with exhibits of traditional arts and special cultural performances around town. The October Shopping Carnival follows on its heels.

Public Holidays
4 Jun - Prophet's Birthday
1 Jan - New Year's Day
Mar - Awal Muharram (Muslim New Year)
31 Aug - National Day
Jan/Feb - Chinese New Year
25 Dec - Christmas Day
1 May - Worker's Day
first Sat in Jun - Yang di-Pertuan Agong's (King's) Birthday
1 Feb - Federal Territory Day



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